Thursday, November 18, 2010

No, The Righthaven-RJ Effort Is Not Dead

Some interesting news this week on the Review-Journal's anti-copyright campaign shepherded by Righthaven LLC's Steven Gibson has been used by "media commentators" to draw bizarre conclusions:

* Righthaven settled with Sharron Angle and several others.
* Stephens Media has attempted to separate itself legally from Righthaven.
* Righthaven, chastened by the courts, won't sue and will drop suits in which less than 75% of a story is used by another website.

What's all this add up to? Well, if you believe some excitable bloggers and Tweeters, the R-J under its new regime has gone soft. But actually, Righthaven has been settling lawsuits batches at a time for months and, without knowing what the settlement amounts are, there's no way to know if they've decided to change course. That information has been kept private.

Suing over excerpts has always been the biggest legal weakness and the overreach of this campaign and, most importantly, the evidence that Gibson is clueless about what constitutes fair use or how news operations work. The courts rightly struck back and the small number of cases involving such behavior are now gone. According to Steve Green of the Las Vegas Sun, just four of 69 currently pending cases involved that.

The rest are ongoing -- and Righthaven filed two new ones yesterday. So the effort continues, albeit with some more reasonable parameters.


Anonymous said...

Just FYI, the Twitter link is defunct.